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Thin Mint Chocolate Tart

How was your Pi Day?  We had a party and there was much pie and good friends.  What more could one want?  Nothing, there is nothing more anyone could want.  My mom has her master's in math, so Pi Day is basically celebrating my family heritage, you know?  One of our friends observed as he was leaving that we and the party were, "A little bit nerdy, let's be honest; really sweet; and you always want to come back for more."  Pretty apt, I'd say.

Janssen and her family also stayed over one night last week.  It was so fun catching up and eventually all the children even slept. (wink)  In anticipation of Pi Day, I naturally had to make pie for dessert.  I've made this chocolate tart several times before and it's always been delicious, but decided to hack it a bit.  Mint seemed just right for St. Patty's Day (WHICH, by the way, we have a snow day today.  It is beyond amazing, I can't even tell you the level of excitement I felt at 5am when I realized Dan's work was cancelled).

Once I finally started making it after much distraction and bed-putting, it took about 15 minutes to throw together.  And was delicious.

Thin Mint Chocolate Tart

One sleeve Thin Mints (half the box)
4 T butter, melted

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 T all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Softly whipped cream, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 325F.  Finely grind Thin Mint cookies in food processor.  Mix in melted butter until moistened.  Press crumb mixture firmly into bottom and up sides of 9" tart pan.  Place pan on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly puffed.

2. Combine chopped chocolate and heavy whipping cream in a medium saucepan.  Whisk over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove saucepan from heat.  Whisk eggs, sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl to blend.  Gradually whisk half the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture to temper until smooth.  Whisk egg mixture back into the rest of the chocolate mixture until smooth and blended.  Pour filling into crust.

3. Bake tart until filling is slightly puffed at edges and center is softly set, about 30-40 minutes.  Transfer to rack.  If you can wait, cool in pan 20 minutes, then remove tart pan sides and let cool completely.  Otherwise, scoop it directly out of the pan and serve with softly whipped cream.

Blueberry Banana Chip Bread

(First things first...happy happy birthday to my witty, ambitious, kind, gorgeous sister!)

Confession time...I'm not always a ginormous fan of banana bread.  I know!  Evil.

They're just usually too...banana-y?  I don't know.

Anyway, this basic version of this was the first version I ever made myself (we got this cookbook for our wedding) and I loved it.  I added blueberries and chocolate chips and coconut because, why not?  The blueberries do make it rather crumbly and moist, but when has that ever been a bad thing when it comes to quickbread?  I've made 3 batches in the last week, so I think that should tell you all you need to know.

Blueberry Banana Chip Bread

1 3/4 cups flour (I've also done half whole wheat, which I love)
2 1/4 t baking powder
3/4 t kosher salt
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 t grated lemon zest
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large mashed bananas
1/2-1 cup chopped pecans
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Butter or spray for greasing

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with butter or spray (I often make it in mini loaf pans because I prefer the higher ratio of crust to soft interior).

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter with sugar and zest until soft and creamy.  Add 1/3 of four mixture to butter mixture and stir until incorporated.  Repeat, adding remaining flour mixture in 2 more batches.  Mix in eggs and banana and stir until well blended.  Gently fold in pecans, chocolate chips, coconut, and blueberries.

3. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s) and smooth the top.  Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour for a full loaf or 35-40 minutes for mini loaves.  Let cool on a wire rack and serve.